Thought for the Day – 8 November – Pope Benedict on Blessed John Duns Scotus

Thought for the Day – 8 November – The Memorial of Blessed John Duns Scotus OFM (c 1265-1308)

Excerpt from Pope Benedict XVI’s

Catechesis on Blessed John Duns Scotus
General Audience – 7 July 2010

“The Immaculate Conception”

This morning, after several Catecheses on various great theologians, I would like to present to you another important figure in the history of theology.   He is Blessed John Duns Scotus, who lived at the end of the 13th century.   An ancient epitaph on his tombstone sums up the geographical coordinates of his biography:  “Scotland bore me, England received me, France taught me, Cologne in Germany holds me”.   We cannot disregard this information, partly because we know very little about the life of Duns Scotus.   He was probably born in 1266 in a village called, precisely, “Duns”, near Edinburgh.
Attracted by the charism of St Francis of Assisi, he entered the Family of the Friars Minor and was ordained a priest in 1291.   He was endowed with a brilliant mind and a tendency for speculation, which earned him the traditional title of Doctor subtilis, “Subtle Doctor”.

Mary is the subject of the Doctor subtilis’ thought.   In the times of Duns Scotus the majority of theologians countered with an objection that seemed insurmountable, the doctrine which holds that Mary Most Holy was exempt from original sin from the very first moment of her conception – in fact, at first sight the universality of the Redemption brought about by Christ might seem to be jeopardised by such a statement, as though Mary had had no need of Christ or His redemption.   Therefore the theologians opposed this thesis.   Thus, to enable people to understand this preservation from original sin Duns Scotus developed an argument that was later, in 1854, also to be used by Bl Pope Pius IX when he solemnly defined the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary.   And this argument is that of “preventive Redemption”, according to which the Immaculate Conception is the masterpiece of the Redemption brought about by Christ because the very power of His love and His mediation obtained, that the Mother be preserved from original sin.   Therefore Mary is totally redeemed by Christ but already before her conception.   Duns Scotus’ confreres, the Franciscans, accepted and spread this doctrine enthusiastically and other theologians, often with a solemn oath, strove to defend and perfect it.

In this regard I would like to highlight a fact that I consider relevant.   Concerning the teaching on the Immaculate Conception, important theologians like Duns Scotus enriched what the People of God already spontaneously believed about the Blessed Virgin and expressed in acts of devotion, in the arts and in Christian life in general with the specific contribution of their thought.   Thus faith both in the Immaculate Conception and in the bodily Assumption of the Virgin was already present in the People of God, while theology had not yet found the key to interpreting it in the totality of the doctrine of the faith.   The People of God therefore precede theologians and this is all thanks to that supernatural sensus fidei, namely, that capacity infused by the Holy Spirit that qualifies us to embrace the reality of the faith with humility of heart and mind. In this sense, the People of God is the “teacher that goes first” and must then be more deeply examined and intellectually accepted by theology.

May theologians always be ready to listen to this source of faith and retain the humility and simplicity of children!   I mentioned this a few months ago saying: “There have been great scholars, great experts, great theologians, teachers of faith who have taught us many things.   They have gone into the details of Sacred Scripture… but have been unable to see the mystery itself, its central nucleus…. The essential has remained hidden!… On the other hand, in our time there have also been “little ones” who have understood this mystery.   Let us think of St Bernadette Soubirous; of St Thérèse of Lisieux, with her new interpretation of the Bible that is “non-scientific’ but goes to the heart of Sacred Scripture”

Dear brothers and sisters, Bl Duns Scotus teaches us that in our life the essential is to believe that God is close to us and loves us in Jesus Christ and, therefor,e to cultivate a deep love for Him and for His Church.   We on earth are witnesses of this love.   May Mary Most Holy help us to receive this infinite love of God, which we will enjoy eternally to the full in Heaven, when our soul is at last united to God for ever in the Communion of Saints.

Blessed John Duns Scotus, Pray for Us!bl john duns scotus pray for us - 8 nov 2018 no 2


One Minute Reflection – 8 November – Today’s Gospel: Luke 15:1–10

One Minute Reflection – 8 November – Today’s Gospel: Luke 15:1–10 – Thursday of the Thirty First week in Ordinary Time, Year B and the Memorial of Blessed John Duns Scotus OFM (c 1265-1308)

“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.”…Luke 15:4-5

REFLECTION – “The fact of re-finding something we had lost always fills us anew with joy.   And this joy is greater than that we felt before losing it, when the thing was safely kept.   But the parable of the lost sheep speaks more of God’s tenderness than of the way in which people usually behave.   It expresses a profound truth.   To leave behind something of importance for love of what is more humble, is characteristic of divine power, not of human possessiveness.   For God even brings into existence what is not, He sets out in search of what is lost while still keeping what He had left in place and He finds what had strayed without losing what He has under His protection.
That is why, this shepherd is not of earth but of heaven.   The parable is not in any respect, a representation of human achievements but it conceals divine mysteries, as the numbers it mentions immediately show: “What man among you,” says the Lord, “having a hundred sheep and losing one of them…”   As you see, the loss of a single sheep has sorely tried this shepherd, as though the whole flock, deprived of His protection, had set out along a treacherous path.   This is why, leaving the ninety-nine others there, He sets out in search of the one.   He attends to one alone so that, in that one, all may be found and saved.”…St Peter Chrysologus (c 400-450) Doctor of the Churchand when he has found it - luke 15 5 - he attends to one alone so that in that one all may be found and saved st peter chrysologus - 8 nov 2018

PRAYER – Lord God, in Your wisdom, You created us, by Your providence You rule us, penetrate our inmost being with Your holy light, so that our way of life, may always be one of faithful service to You. With great love we thank You for the great gifts You shower upon us and for being our Father, who seeks and finds us when we are lost.   Grant that by the intercession of Blessed John Duns Scotus, we may ever seek to stay true to our baptism.   Through Jesus, our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, john duns scotus pray for us - 8 nov 2018

Posted in FRANCISCAN, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 8 November – Blessed John Duns Scotus OFM (c 1265-1308)

Saint of the Day – 8 November – Blessed John Duns Scotus OFM (c 1265-1308) Doctor Subtilis (Subtle Doctor) Franciscan Friar, Priest, Theologian, Philosopher, Lecturer – known as “The minstrel of the Word Incarnate” and “Defender of Mary’s Immaculate Conception”.HEADER bl john scotus

A humble man, John Duns Scotus has been one of the most influential Franciscans through the centuries.   Born at Duns in the county of Berwick, Scotland, John was descended from a wealthy farming family.   In later years, he was identified as John Duns Scotus to indicate the land of his birth – Scotia is the Latin name for Scotland.

John received the habit of the Friars Minor at Dumfries, where his uncle Elias Duns was superior.   After novitiate, John studied at Oxford and Paris and was ordained in 1291. More studies in Paris followed until 1297, when he returned to lecture at Oxford and Cambridge.   Four years later, he returned to Paris to teach and complete the requirements for the doctorate.BlJohnDunsScotus8-11

In an age when many people adopted whole systems of thought without qualification, John pointed out the richness of the Augustinian-Franciscan tradition, appreciated the wisdom of Aquinas, Aristotle, and the Muslim philosophers—and still managed to be an independent thinker.   That quality was proven in 1303, when King Philip the Fair tried to enlist the University of Paris on his side in a dispute with Pope Boniface VIII.  John Duns Scotus dissented and was given three days to leave France.

In Scotus’s time, some philosophers held that people are basically determined by forces outside themselves.   Free will is an illusion, they argued.   An ever-practical man, Scotus said that if he started beating someone who denied free will, the person would immediately tell him to stop.   But if Scotus didn’t really have a free will, how could he stop?   John had a knack for finding illustrations his students could remember!BL JOHN DUN SCOTUS

After a short stay in Oxford, Scotus returned to Paris, where he received the doctorate in 1305.   He continued teaching there and in 1307 so ably defended the Immaculate Conception of Mary that the university officially adopted his position.   That same year, the minister general assigned him to the Franciscan school in Cologne where John died in 1308.   He is buried in the Franciscan church near the famous Cologne cathedral.BL duns-scotus

Drawing on the work of John Duns Scotus, Pope Pius IX solemnly defined the Immaculate Conception of Mary in 1854.   On 20 March 1993 John Duns Scotus, the “Subtle Doctor,” was beatified by St Pope John Paul II at St Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Bl John Duns Scotus, “The minstrel of the Word Incarnate” and “Defender of Mary’s Immaculate Conception” was presented by St Pope John Paul II to our age “wealthy of human, scientific and technological resources, but in which many have lost the sense of faith and lead lives distant from Christ and His Gospel,” as “a Teacher of thought and life.” For the Church, he is “an example of fidelity to the revealed truth, of effective, priestly and serious dialogue in search for unity.”header - Beato_Giovanni_Duns_Scoto_B

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FRANCISCAN, MORNING Prayers, ON the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 7 November – Today’s Gospel: Luke 14:25–33

One Minute Reflection – 7 November – Today’s Gospel: Luke 14:25–33 – Wednesday of the Thirty First week in Ordinary Time, Year B and The Memorial of St Willibrord (c 658 – 739) “Apostle to the Frisians” and Bl Anthony Baldinucci SJ (1665-1717)

So therefore, whoever of you does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple...Luke 14:33

REFLECTION  – “Francis’ father led this child of his before the bishop.   He wanted to have Francis renounce into his hands his family possessions and return everything he   had. A true lover of poverty, Francis showed himself eager to comply;  he went before the bishop without delaying or hesitating.   He did not wait for any words nor did he speak any but immediately took his clothes and gave them back to his father… Drunk with remarkable fervour, he even took off his underwear, stripping himself completely naked before all.   He said to his father : “Until now I have called you father here on earth, but now I can say without reservation,  ‘Our Father who art in heaven’ (Matt. 6:9), since I have placed all my treasure and all my hope in him.”
When the bishop saw this, he was amazed at such intense fervour in the man of God.   He immediately stood up and in tears drew Francis into his arms, covering him with the mantle he was wearing, like the pious and good man that he was.   He bade servants give Francis something to cover his body.   They brought him a poor, cheap cloak of a farmer who worked for the bishop.   Francis accepted it gratefully and with his hand marked a cross on it with a piece of chalk, thus signifying it as the covering of a crucified man and a half-naked beggar.   Thus the servant of the Most High King was left naked so that he might follow his naked crucified Lord, whom he loved.”… St Bonaventure (1221-1274) Doctor of the Churchwith his hand, he marked a cross on it - st bonaventure - and luke 14 33 whoever does not renounce - 7 nov 2018

PRAYER – Holy God and Father, You sent your Son to show us the way to our eternal home.   Teach us always to understand that by relinquishing the things of this world and focusing our efforts only on following the Light He shines on our path, we may attain the eternal victory.   May the prayers of St Willibrord and St Anthony, assist us in carrying our cross after Him.   Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, willibrord pray for us 7 nov 2018bl-anthony-baldinucci-pray-for-us-7-nov-2017-no2

Posted in FRANCISCAN, MORNING Prayers, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 30 October – The Memorial of St Angelo of Acri OFM Cap (1669-1739)

Thought for the Day – 30 October – The Memorial of St Angelo of Acri OFM Cap (1669-1739)

One of the oldest paintings of Br Angelo of Acri shows him looking at and contemplating the Crucified, the centre of his preaching and his prayer.   Meditation on the Passion of the Lord accompanied his long travels on foot from one place to another in his preaching tours.   In long hours of solitary prayer he meditated on the suffering of Christ moment by moment;  in the same way he cared for and embraced the sick in body and in spirit, recognising in their illnesses the wounds of Our Lord.   He kept in his heart the face and the name of Jesus crucified, the icon of a love without limit.

St Angelo of Acri, whom the Church gives us as a model and example of an authentic and realised life, teaches all Christians, how to proclaim the Gospel to a world thirsty for freedom.   Life in the Spirit leads us to that true freedom that makes us able to recognise the dignity of each human being.   This movement happens and grows when we embrace the Lord Jesus in faith;  He who, taking on our humanity, lifted up the human person to the dignity of a child of God.

His holiness, proclaimed by the Church, joins the great multitude of friars who have followed St Francis of Assisi, proclaiming the Kingdom of God with passion, loving the Church and embracing the lepers of their own time.
May all of us keep within ourselves a soul that is contemplative, simple and joyful. Let us ask the grace to contemplate Christ Crucified, that we might love Him in the suffering flesh of the poor, the marginalised and the one who has need of care and sympathy.

May all of you, as witnesses to the beauty of divine Mystery, be bearers of the peace and love of Christ our Saviour.   May the Immaculate Virgin remain with you and support you always.
Rome, 4 October 2017
Feast of our Seraphic Father St Francis
Br Mauro Jöhri, OFM Cap.
General Minister

St Angelo of Acri, Pray for us!st angelo of acri pray for us - 30 oct 2018


Quote of the Day – 30 October – The Memorial of St Angelo of Acri OFM Cap (1669-1739) Preacher

Quote of the Day =30 October – The Memorial of St Angelo of Acri OFM Cap (1669-1739) Preacher

Pope Francis writes:

“The preacher has the wonderful but difficult task of joining loving hearts, the hearts of the Lord and His people.
The dialogue between God and His people further strengthens the covenant between them and consolidates the bond of charity.
In the course of the homily, the hearts of believers keep silence and allow God to speak. The Lord and His people speak to one another in a thousand ways directly, without intermediaries.   But in the homily, they want someone to serve as an instrument and to express their feelings in such a way, that afterwards, each one may chose how he or she
will continue the conversation.”

Pope Francis – Evangelii gaudium – The Joy of the Gospel, 143

the preacher has the wonderful but difficult task - evanelii guadium the joy of the gospel 143 - pope francis - 30 oct 2018

Posted in 7 GIFTS of the HOLY SPIRIT, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, FRANCISCAN, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Our Morning Offering – 30 October – The Memorial of St Angelo of Acri OFM Cap (1669-1739)

Our Morning Offering – 30 October – The Memorial of St Angelo of Acri OFM Cap (1669-1739)

Pray for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit
By St Bonaventure OFM (1217-1274) Doctor of the Church

We beg the all-merciful Father through You,
His only-begotten Son made man for our sake,
crucified and glorified for us,
to send upon us from His treasure-house
the Spirit of sevenfold grace,
Who rested upon You in all His fullness:
the spirit of wisdom,
enabling us to relish the fruit
of the tree of life, which is indeed Yourself;
the gift of understanding:
to enlighten our perceptions;
the gift of prudence,
enabling us to follow in Your footsteps;
the gift of strength:
to withstand our adversary’s onslaught;
the gift of knowledge:
to distinguish good from evil
by the light of Your holy teaching;
the gift of piety:
to clothe ourselves with charity and mercy;
the gift of fear:
to withdraw from all ill-doing
and live quietly in awe of Your eternal majesty.
These are the things for which we petition.
Grant them for the honour of Your Holy Name,
to which, with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
be all honour and glory, thanksgiving, renown,
and Lordship forever and ever.
Amenprayer for the seven gifts of the holy spirit by st bonaventure - 30 oct 2018 mem of st angelo of acri